A suspected drunken driver rammed his pickup truck into the back of a Spokane Transit Authority bus Wednesday night in the Valley, then took off on foot.
David W. Jones ran from an accident scene littered with beer cans, leaving his dying wife in the mangled truck, authorities said.
Washington State Patrol troopers and sheriff’s deputies aided by dogs searched for Jones. A short time later, he was found - in a nearby bar.
Deputies questioned the injured 41-year-old man at the Bayou Tavern on North Barker Road before he was taken by ambulance to Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Less than 90 minutes earlier at the same hospital, Jones’ wife had been pronounced dead.
Authorities withheld her identity pending notification of relatives.
Jones is being investigated for vehicular homicide, the WSP said.
Moments before the 5:30 p.m. crash, the route No. 18 bus had stopped to let a passenger off at Barker and Euclid.
Only the driver and one passenger were left on board. They weren’t injured when the dark-green Chevrolet pickup with Idaho license plates, headed south on Barker, slammed into the stationary bus, the WSP said.
A witness who lives across the street said he heard the crash and first thought it was a train accident because railroad tracks are close to his house.
“It was an incredible crash,” John Jones said. “I opened my door, and I see this big, scruffy guy with blue jeans and an Army fatigue jacket running down the side of my house.
“I was thinking to myself there aren’t too many places to hide but an irrigation ditch and some bales of hay,” the witness said.
WSP trooper Kris Schweigert, one of the first officers to arrive, said the woman in the pickup was unconscious.
At the scene, the road was littered with empty beer cans, shattered glass, engine oil and other debris.
It was not immediately clear how fast the pickup had been traveling.
The speed limit on Barker is 35 mph, and the truck left a 30- to 40-foot-long trail of skid marks, WSP Sgt. Ken Lofquist said.
Troopers and deputies quickly launched a search for the driver, who fled into a field along the railroad tracks.
Dogs were used to pick up the man’s scent.
David Jones was found less than a mile up the road at the Bayou Tavern, 4511 N. Barker.
After being identified by a witness, he was questioned and taken to the hospital, where he remained late Wednesday.
Information about his medical condition was not available.
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